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Horse Battery M, 2d U.S. Artillery, Army of Potomac

[In the Civil War, Battery was the term used to describe an artillery company. Horse Battery meant that the company was assigned to work with cavalry. This battery was in for the duration, from the first battle of Bull Run in July 1861 to the end of the war in April 1865. They engaged in almost all of the major battles in the eastern theater, including Antietam, Peninsula Campaign, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Cold Harbor and the Seige of Petersburg. And finally, they were involved in the Appomattox Campaign in the last week of the war. There were 5 officers and 50 enlisted men killed or mortallly wounded in combat and 1 officer and 118 men died of disease. N. Elvick]

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va., Feb. 12, '63

Mr. Harper:
     I drop you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along in the army. I have enjoyed good health ever since I left Gallipolis. I went to Cincinnati and there joined the army, and was sent to Carlyle Barracks, in Pennsylvania, where I remained three weeks, and then forwarded to my company, which was at Fair Oaks, Va. The seven days' fight was going on when I reached there. It was here that I first heard the cannon's roar. One that has not been in a fight cannot imagine how a person feels when in a fight with shot and shell flying like hail through the air. I have been in four or five fights, the first was at Malvern Hill. We lost one man killed, and our Captain was wounded in the thigh by a piece of shell from one of our own guns. He died on his way home. I was also in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, and Martinsburg. We also fought Stewart for five days on the advance into Virginia, and we are just as willing to fight on if they will give us the right men to command us. I have been in some hard fights, and am ready at any time to go in, when we have the right men to lead us. While I have a hand to raise and a drop of blood to spare I will give it with all my heart in defense of my country, and may every son of Old Gallia do the same. Gen. Stoneman and Maj. Gen. Pleasanton and staff reviewed our battery to-day.
     Please give this space in your paper so my friends can see where I am, for it is impossible for me to write to all. I receive your paper every week and it is a welcome visitor. Long may the Journal stand, and as long as there is a star in the heavens and this rebellion continues, may it continue in its good work.
     L. Aug. Smith, Horse Battery M, 2d U.S. Artillery, Army of Potomac

The Gallipolis Journal
February 26, 1863

Camp near Acquia Creek, March 11, 1863

Mr. Harper:
     I again drop you a few lines for the purpose of letting you know how I get along in the army.—My health never was better, and I have gained about twenty-five pounds in weight since I joined the army. I have been in the service about nine months, and I think I shall be considerable of a "chap" by the end of the three years, if I improve at the same rate. There is but little doing here at present. The weather is very unsettled, rain nearly every day. I think it more than likely that we shall be sent to the West before long. No fighting going on here, only a few shots fired occasionally when Stuart makes his appearance and attempts to cross the river to give us some fun. He never stays long at a time, and the fun hardly commences before it is over. There is not sufficient news here upon which to base a letter, so I will close.
     Yours truly,
     L. Aug. Smith. Horse Battery M, 2d U.S. Artillery, Army of the Potomac.

The Gallipolis Journal
March 26, 1863

Camp near Brandy Station, Va., Feb. 8th, 1864

Editor Journal:—Dear Sir,
     I drop you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along in the army. I am in good health. We have had very fine weather, and good roads this winter so far, and hope they may continue. There has not been much doing here lately, of any importance. Our men crossed the Rapidan on the 6th, driving the rebels from their rifle pits, and taking the first line of breastworks. They had to ford the river which was waist deep, and then sleep out all night in the cold. The fighting was very hard all day, and for a long time after night. Our men took some prisoners. How many we lost, I do not know, but suppose we lost heavy, for the place was very hard to take. Our men are on this side of the river again, and everything is quiet today. We are very well fixed in our quarters, for the winter.
     I have been in the army nearly two years, have seen some hard times and hard fighting. You may think so, when I tell you, that I have been in thirty-five battles, and the hardest ever fought by the army of the Potomac. There are a great many men who are re-enlisting in this army.—They all claim New York, for their state, as she is paying more bounty than any other state for veterans. I hope they will not have to draft in old Gallia. She can do her share toward putting down this rebellion. This war must close, let the copperheads say or do as they will. There is a time coming when the soldiers will give them their dues.
     I may get a furlough to come home in a short time, to see all of my old friends. Please give this space in your paper, so they may know where I am.
     Yours Truly,
     L. A. Smith, Battery M, 2d U.S. Artillery

The Gallipolis Journal
February 18, 1864

Transcribed by Eva Swain Hughes

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